Ask the Expert: Andrew Natoli Talks Underrated Melbourne Destinations

Sofitel Melbourne On Collins chief concierge Andrew Natoli shares his tips for exploring Melbourne in July.

What is the one must-do activity in Melbourne?
Explore the myriad city laneways that continue to enthrall and delight visitors to Melbourne. From finding that hidden speakeasy bar, like Pizza Pizza Pizza (pizza slices out front, surprise out back!) in Meyers Place, or negotiating the lunchtime bustle of Centre Place; scoping out the street art of Hosier Lane or getting your caffeine fix at Traveller Coffee on Crossley Street—the possibilities are endless.

What is an underrated Melbourne destination, in your opinion?
Often overlooked yet just 20 minutes out from the CBD, Heide Museum of Modern Art is a wonderful public art museum dedicated to promoting the work of living contemporary artists that is also notable for its stunning architecture, sculpture park and beautiful gardens. 

Who has the best wine list in the city?
Kisumé’s amazing wine list of more than 1,000 wines and saké from around the world—and their elegant Chablis Bar stands out. Chablis is located in the northernmost wine district of the Burgundy region in France, so to find a Japanese restaurant showcasing this style of French wine might sound a bit quirky, yet it just so happens to pair nicely with all kinds of seafood, especially sashimi.

If you were to treat yourself to a fancy dinner, where would it be?
No35 restaurant located on level 35 of Sofitel Melbourne On Collins definitely brings the "wow" factor to any occasion. With floor-to-ceiling windows, No35 boasts breathtaking city and bay views, yet chef Martin Horsley deftly draws your attention back to the plate with uncomplicated, beautiful dining using only the freshest local ingredients. Very magnifique!

What is your favourite thing to do for free in Melbourne?
As a father of two young boys, I love visiting the beautiful Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens. Designed for children of all ages, explore the bamboo forest, plant tunnel, the wetlands area and play along the little waterway that runs through the entire garden. Should you find yourself at the "Paris End" of Collins Street, pop into the Sofitel Melbourne On Collins and experience the views from the level 35 toilets! This now not-so-secret destination continues to draw visitors and locals alike. So while you may still need to "spend a penny", you can do so experiencing some of the best views in town.